How to Hold Space for Someone: 4 Tips for Facilitating an Awakening Environment

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As a life coach and energy healer, my job is to hold space. At core, my job is not really to give advice or to say wise words. In reality, the deepest, most healing aspect of what I do is to hold space for other people.

 

But what does it mean to hold space?

 

To hold space is to create an environment that is supportive for healing and spiritual awakening. (In reality, healing and spiritual awakening are one and the same.) To hold space is to act as a clear mirror for the other person: to nurture the process of the other person courageously looking within.

 

When one looks within, one discovers the intuition and wisdom that is already there.

 

Indeed, to hold space is to trust that the other person knows best—knows how to heal herself, knows how to change, knows how to grow, knows what to do. Holding space is a radical act of faith in the harmony of the Universe. Holding space is a radical act of generosity and of love.

 

When I first heard about the importance of holding space for another human being, I assumed it was easier than it really was. Yet, over the years, I’ve discovered that holding space can be quite challenging

 

Why is it challenging?

 

It is challenging because it requires a loosening of the ego. It requires cultivating an aura of non-judgment, non-reactivity. It requires compassion and unconditional love.

 

Holding this kind of sacred space, this kind of loving awareness is the ultimate gift. It is the ultimate healing force.

 

With this in mind, here are four tips for how to hold space for another person. You can use these strategies both in your professional healing practice or in your personal life with friends and family.

 

  1. Make peace with silence

 

There will be moments in your meeting when silence naturally arises. This is ok.

 

Don’t feel like you have to fill up every moment with speaking. There may be moments when the other person wants to stare out the window and gather their thoughts. Or maybe there are moments when you are both at a loss for words, overcome by tears and strong emotions.
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Don’t rush to fill the silence. Simply allow the silence to be another participant in the unfolding scene. Welcome the silence as a friend.

 

  1. Your whole world is that person

 

In our fast-paced, hectic society, when you give the gift of total attention, you are giving a priceless gift.

 

When you hold space for someone, you dedicate yourself fully.

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For the time being, your whole worldis that person. Your whole entire universe. Nothing else matters; nothing else exists.

 

When a person comes to you seeking solace or guidance (regardless of whether that person is a friend, family member, neighbor, client, or coworker), what they really want is to feel is that they matter. What the other person ultimately wants—whether they are consciously aware of it or not—is to feel your total attention on them. They want to feel that you are truly there with them.

 

When you hold sacred space, it’s not the time to think about yourself or your own issues. Be “all in” with that other person. Be utterly devoted, like a lover.

 

 

  1. Be like a child

 

Holding space is sacred and precious because it requires a (temporary) dropping of egoic boundaries.

 

When we hold space for someone, we find the courage to temporarily set aside our own separate, individual self—our own wants, desires, opinions, storyline, and beliefs. In order to hold space, we must be like a newborn baby: fresh into the world, without preconceived notions about what is right or wrong, possible or impossible. We must be simple, innocent, curious, open-hearted, sweet, and gentle.

 

For most of us in society, we have been trained to use our intellect as the dominant tool for processing our reality. The intellect (the ego), unfortunately, does not know how hold space. Rather, what holds space is the heart—and the quality of the heart is childlike innocence.

 

  1. Recognize that holding space for someone else is facilitating your own awakening process

 

When we commit ourselves to the practice of holding space for another human being, what we actually also do is facilitate our own awakening.

 

Holding space is like meditation. When we hold space, we become clear. We become pure.

 

When we intentionally step out of the constrictions of our ego, the more that the flavor of enlightenment permeates every cell of our body. The more we act as a clear, open mirror for someone, the less gunk we have in the way of our own awakening.

 

Holding space is a gift you give … and it is also a gift you receive.

♥♥

Dear friends, I’d love to hear your stories.

When was the last time you held space for someone? What did it feel like to hold space? What was scary about it? Exciting about it? Please comment below, so we can all learn together.

Sweaty Hands and Self-Love: A Story of Healing

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At every stage of life, there is always learning and growth to be had.

Regardless of your particular role in society, a major step in the awakening process is to openly share and talk about your struggles with others. Even if you are a healer or a teacher or a guide to others (as I am), it is imperative that you, from time to time, share about your current challenges.

Yes, it may be scary to talk about our struggles (holy hell, I know that the story I’m about to share is super scary for me to admit!), but this kind of vulnerable sharing is what brings our shame and negative feelings out of the darkness and into the light of consciousness. By sharing openly, we heal. We transform.

By my sharing with you today about a current challenge of mine, I hope you will be inspired to share with a loved one what you are actively engaged in transforming.

MY SWEATING “PROBLEM”

When the temperature rises above 75 degrees (roughly), my hands and feet begin to sweat.

This happens because my endocrine system is imbalanced.

I am working on healing it.

Some days are worse than others. On some days, it’s simply a light dampness; on other days, the sweating is so intense that I am literally unable to type on my laptop because I fear that such a steady flow of liquid will break the machine.

For all of my life, this issue has plagued me. Not only is it often physically uncomfortable (for example, it’s difficult to do yoga sometimes, because my hands and feet are sliding all around the mat), but it is socially uncomfortable as well.

If the weather is warm that day, after a class or a workshop, when one of my students approaches me and holds out their hand for a handshake, I sometimes inwardly grimace.

Or, if I’m doing a Reiki healing session with a client, when it is time for me to touch a part of their body that is unclothed (face, neck, arms or legs), I sometimes worry that the sweat rolling off my fingertips is a distraction or an irritation for them.

Or, if I’m dating someone new…there is always this awkward moment where they reach out to hold my hand, and I want to run in the opposite direction.

Over the years, I have equated my sweaty hands with being a total weirdo. With being a loser, or a freak.

I so often feel shame when my hands come into contact with another person. (Which is surely ironic—considering the fact that I work as a hands-on healer!)

Many times, when I’ve shaken hands with someone, and they’ve literally gotten their hand soaked (it’s quite incredible, really), I’ve seen the look of mild irritation or confusion on their face, as they then wipe their hand on their pants, unsure about what they’ve just encountered. I assume they’re thinking something like, “What the hell was that?” When I see that look on their face, my heart absolutely breaks. I feel like a failure as a human being. A freak. A weirdo.

 

QUESTIONS AND REALIZATIONS

For years and years—basically, my whole life—I have actively hated and despised this aspect of my physical body. And though I deeply adore warm weather, I sometimes find myself dreading the spring months because of the seemingly inevitable social awkwardness it can bring.

But…lately…I’ve been asking myself some deep questions.

Why am I so ashamed? Why do I assume others will have negative feelings about the wetness of my hands? Why do I worry and care about what others think? What does this worry reflect about my own capacity for acceptance and self-love? And since I judge myself in this way, in what ways do I still judge others for not being “perfect”?

In so many ways, I have dropped concern for social norms and done my own thing. I’m a rebel. I am an independent, free-spirit. I don’t follow fashion norms. I wear non-matching clothes without a second thought. I don’t shave my legs; I don’t conform to gender norms. And I’ve broken just about every sexuality and relationship norm there is. In my rather conservative, frozen-in-time tiny town, I hug trees, sing, and openly perform sacred rituals in public spaces where such things are seen by the majority as outlandish, if not outright insane.

In so many aspects of my life, I do not give a crap what others think about me.

So why, in this one aspect, do I still worry about judgment and criticism from others?

After much recent reflection, I realize that the basis of my worry has to do with the fact that I’ve been stressed about presenting myself in a certain way, since my work highly depends on the impressions others have of me in order to seek my services. Basically, I’ve wanted to show myself as “perfect,” so others will be inspired to learn from me.

However, this attempt to be seen as perfect has created an impossible situation, where I am, time and time again, judging myself as less than perfect. It has set up a no-win scenario, where I am feeling like I have to hide behind a mask, rather than present my true self to others, warts and all.

Ultimately, what I realized is: Lately, my sweaty hands are prompting me to be more honest with others. I want to take all the masks off.

My sweaty hands are also helping me to realize how much more I need to love myself, unconditionally.

Do I have the courage to love myself, every single bit of me, no matter what?

Do I have the courage to claim my experience, and say to the Universe: “I love myself through my hands. I love myself through my feet. I love myself, whether sweaty or dry. I love myself, no matter what.”

And, do I have the courage to decree that I am the creator of my own experience?

 

A NEW CHAPTER

I realize that I do not know when the full physical healing of my endocrine system will happen. I know that the core of the imbalance is from years of undiagnosed PTSD.

And even though I now consider myself healed from PTSD—meaning that I have successfully rewired my brain into healthier patterns so that I no longer feel victimized by my past and meaning that I no longer require that label to make progress on my awakening journey—the reality is that my endocrine system, my physical body, is still catching up.

For years I have faithfully practiced healthy eating, daily meditation, and Reiki self-healing. And the situation still persists.

I’ve been so angry with the Universe. Why haven’t I been healed yet, when I’ve been so diligent to follow the path of healing?

And this anger…this anger is now asking to be transmuted, transformed, into patience, peace, acceptance, and self-love. I need to be with myself, just as I am, unconditionally, regardless of whether the issue is ever cured in this lifetime.

I have to be okay with the possibility that my hands and feet might always sweat more than I’d like.

That’s a hard lesson to learn, but I am ready.

The time is now for a new chapter. Yesterday, I attended a social function. New friends everywhere, wanting to shake my hand, wanting to be close. And so yesterday I began to practice something new. I began to shake hands with people, and as I did so, I silently repeated the mantra: “I love myself through my hands, I love myself through my hands, I love myself through my hands…”

As I met people by looking deeply into their eyes and seeing the lovely Spirit that lies within, I realized that what counts is not the dryness or the wetness of my hands. What counts is my ability to meet them where they are at, and to see the God within.

In order to do this, I need to meet myself in just that same way. If I am blocked because I cannot love this part of me, what are the chances that I can love them in the deepest way?

I am ready for this change. I am ready to create a new reality, where I love myself fully and totally, no matter what.

 

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

My dear friends, thanks so much for listening to my story.

It’s felt scary, but also remarkably good to share with you.

And now, I invite you to share with us, in return. Let’s exchange energy and create a complete circle of healing.

What is it that you have disliked or even despised about yourself that you can now use as an opportunity to love yourself? What is it you’ve judged about yourself that you can choose to transform into an active practice and remembrance of love?

Please share with us in the comment section below.

And please know that as you share your story, you are inspiring others to do the same.

Your choice to be intentionally vulnerable is a powerful healing act, for yourself and others.

 

Thank you.

 

Love is the New Religion

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We are born to love.
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As every mother knows, cradling her newborn child, love is the reason we are here.
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As any lover knows, gazing into the eyes of their beloved, love is the reason we are here.
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While it is true that we may hold vastly different beliefs, that we may pursue radically different paths and passions…at core, love is what connects us. Love joins our hearts.
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Those of us who prefer logic and scientific methods experience love in just the same way that mystics do. In fact, there is no dividing line between those who pride themselves on their intellect and those who pride themselves on their meditative states. Love is the common factor of us all. Love unites us.
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And when we look around our world today, at all of its changes, challenges, and growing pains, we see one common theme emerge. Love.
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Love is what we seek. It is the new religion of our age: the glue that binds us, the spark that motivates us, the path that propels us forward.

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If we look at the etymology of the word religion, we see it comes from the Latin root ligare, meaning “to bind.” Indeed, we are on a journey of coming together. We are stepping out of our old divisions, out of our old closets of fear and prejudice. We are, as a collective species, learning to drop the harmful dogmas of the past, the old fundamentalist religions of yesterday, and stepping into the new—love.
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Love bind us. In love, we see we are not separate.
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We are one human family. We are one beautiful planet.

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Of course, many of us have different definitions of “love.” This is good! Our varied experiences and ways of defining love is a benefit to the shifts and changes our global community is currently experiencing. Diversity is beautiful and healing. Through varied ways of understanding and conceptualizing love, we can widen our hearts, and perceive the stories of those whose daily lives and customs might differ from our own.
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For example, let’s travel to India. Let’s sit down in a marketplace and speak with a stranger. As we listen, we learn that the most love this person has ever felt was on the day his wife was cremated in a public ceremony, in an Antyesti. As we listen deeply, we might learn that this man, this man who cared for his wife so deeply, felt his consciousness expand when he saw his beloved’s body burst into a million billion flames. We learn how a deep sense of awe arose in his heart as her flesh turned to smoke before his eyes. We realize that the catastrophic pain and trauma he experienced through losing his wife was actually, paradoxically, the key to his spiritual breakthrough. He realized that death was not the end of life, but merely a transition. He learned that love does not end…love continues.
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Yes, if we talk to this man in India, he will no doubt define love in a different way than a man would in Australia or a woman would in Belgium. We all have different definitions of “love,” many different words to describe, based upon our unique cultures and upbringings. And that’s okay! Because, at core, love is not a word or a definition…love is, rather, an energy. A state of being. And we have all felt it. It is what we share.
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About seven years ago, I began to explore both polyamory and spirituality. For many years prior, I had been very staunchly anti-religious and quite bitter about what I perceived to be the shitty conditioning implanted into me by the fundamentalist Christian church in which I was raised—a church that condemned gays to hell and pronounced sex outside of marriage a terrible sin. Once I left my parents’ house and entered college, new ways of life began to open. I began to breathe fresh air. In my studies and social life, I began to connect with different kinds of people across different backgrounds—people whose basic assumptions about life were very, very different from mine. I also began sharing my poetry at coffee shops and in magazines. Through this art form, I began to experience my own creativity and intuition in a way that I’d never been able to do before.
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My husband and I began to explore polyamorous relationships around the time we both began to explore meditation. We began to realize that opening our hearts and intimately connecting with others beyond our union of two was deeply healing and profoundly joyful. And as we began exploring polyamory, we began to also explore altered states of consciousness—states where the rational brain was no longer explicitly in control. These states were achieved through various practices: breathing, yoga, Reiki, dance, tantric sex, and plant medicine ceremonies. It was around this time that I began to realize that even though I’d freed myself from the confines of conservative religion, there was still a desire within my heart to explore the parts of me that dwelt in something other than the mind, something other than logic or rational analyses.
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A few years later, I began working as a healer and spiritual teacher. As I dedicated my life to this thrilling work, I sensed that what would be most beneficial for me would be to open my heart—not only by exploring the wonderful ways I might connect, learn, and share with new poly partners, but also by exploring the ways that I might connect with the spirit of each and every single person I encountered in my daily life. The woman bagging my groceries began to take on as much importance as my lover in bed. The man handing me cash at the bank began to take on a dearness that had been previously reserved for my husband. I became thrilled by the love energy that was flowing from my eyes, my heart, and my hands, positively uplifting everyone on its path.
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As my journey progressed, I began to realize that, more than anything else, what humanity needs, right now, is love.

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Indeed, love is not just about sex and romantic partnering. Love is much, much more. Love is compassion, acts of kindness. Love is a twinkle in the eye; love is laughter in the heart. Love is doing for others.
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Most importantly, love is loving ourselves. Love is looking in the mirror each morning and saying to our own reflection, “You are beautiful! You are awesome! I love you!”
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We came to this life to love.

Love dissolves the feeling of separation that seems to come between us. Love lets us feel close again.
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Love lets us forget ourselves: forget our own pain, our own struggles—if only for a moment. Love heals. Love unites.
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Indeed, love is the new religion of our times. I believe this is why polyamory is rapidly gaining popularity and public recognition. As relationship radicals such as poly and LGBTQ folks free themselves from the limiting cultural norms and dogmatic religious constructs of an old paradigm that is on its last legs (Trump represents the last dying gasps of an old way of viewing the world), new kinds of families and new kinds of community are being created. No longer are we isolated into our separate monogamous dyads, fearfully protecting and shielding ourselves from a scary outside world. No. There is, more and more, a brave intuition that what makes the most sense now is to come out and come together. Now is not the time for closets, retreat, and fear—no. What we need to do, right now, is to bravely come together, opening our hearts and sharing our lives and stories.
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On this new path, we drop our judgements and see each person for the divine beautiful soul that they are. We see beyond the outward appearance, behind the names and roles and occupations, and see the glimmer of pure life force within. We see ourselves as brothers and sisters, in love.
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As we create this new planet, we create from a space of love, putting in place new modes, new forms, new structures, new expressions of what it can mean to be a human being.
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As we wake up, we create more love, from love.
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We transform. Everything.